Moves are well underway to establish a new Kiwifruit Breeding Centre (KBC) - a joint venture between Plant and Food Research (PFR) and Zespri - designed to speed up the process of developing new and improved kiwifruit varieties.
Zespri chair Peter McBride says it was an honour to have the Prime Minister open the new office.
“Volumes of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit are set to grow strongly in the next few years and Zespri is investing in its market capability to deliver this growth for New Zealand growers,” he says.
“Our head office is in Tauranga in the region where 80% of New Zealand’s kiwifruit is grown and this Singapore hub is the market-side base for our global sales and marketing leadership team.
“The Singapore office is not just Zespri’s global sales and marketing office, it’s part of our focus on the Southeast Asia region as well,” says McBride.
The Southeast Asian region is an important growth market for Zespri, with forecast sales of around $78 million this season and sales volumes expected to almost double over the next five years. McBride says the hub will also offer corporate support services to nearby Asian markets including Japan and China –Zespri’s largest two country markets.
The Prime Minister joined a delegation of Maori kiwifruit growers on a marketing visit to Asia for a traditional Maori blessing of the new office and its whakairo/carving.
Kaumatua Pouroto Ngaropo blessed the office and the carving Te Tipuranga by Tauranga-based carver James Tapiata, which symbolises the connection to Zespri’s roots in the Bay of Plenty region in New Zealand.